the year ago today game

When we were teenagers, my friend Leslie used to love to play the game 'a year ago today..' I don't know why: I kind of do, I guess: to get a sense of perspective. So today I thought I'd try it with my blog.

A year ago today, I posted a shot of a really sweet girl named Ashley, ('Serendipity..') who I ran into, coming out of a Starbucks in South Beach, Miami, with the Dotster. When I asked where she got her seersucker skirt and bustier she indicated across the mall with her latte 'American Apparel: I work there'.

Coincidentally, I just happened to have just been approached by them to run an ad on my blog. You might have noticed: I don't do ads. But Milt, the guy who emailed me, seemed so nice, so I said yes. A year on, my ad is gone: they hadn't paid me since the first time, in March (they pay $10 USD for each click thru: I would get maybe one, two a week) and it had added up to about $850 that they owed me, and my husband and I were spending so much time chasing it down, that finally some guy named Ryan said 'right, we're rounding you up to $1000, now go away.' I woke up and my ad had magically disappeared off my sidebar. And I discovered that another very talented streetstyle photo blogger, who I'm friendly with, is now running their ad instead (she had tried last year to advertise with them and they turned her down). In other words, as Ryan told me in not a very nice way: you are totally dispensable, Mrs. Dot.

I wrote Milt a nice note over Christmas, saying I was sorry it had to end this way, as I felt he was so nice. He never replied.

Ryan said that with all the bloggers they work with round the world, I'm the only one they had a problem with. I'm just wondering if anyone else had the same problem. I really liked the brand - I was always buying their clothes anyway (full price) and when they started sending me stuff I thought thought that was so nice of them, but I only promote what I like anyway. So it wasn't a far stretch to wear some of what they sent, and tell you guys who made it.

But I actually like it better now, having no ads at all: I don't like the idea of being paid off to say anything, and besides.. I wasn't actually getting paid! I've heard AA are in trouble, and as I said in each email while trying to get them to please pay me, I wanted to help any way I could, but somehow.. I don't know, I just haven't felt like walking into an American Apparel shop since they dumped me.

A year ago today I was more.. I don't want to say naive, but perhaps less jaded about blogging than I am today (I've yet to tell you the ElleGate story! It is coming soon: just trying to work out what to do) certainly more enthusiastic. Today I am a year older than I was a year ago today, but am I wiser? What have I learned from this experience?

So I'm putting it out there: where do you stand with regards ads? Can you be bought? And if so, what's your price?

. . .

p.s. Funny old world: right as I posted this, I got contacted from someone about running a small Land's End banner on my sidebar. The man was so nice and their approach is so different than AA - and sooooo straight forward. Easy Peasy, I've done it. And it's just for a nice tidy small fee, no 'commission' basis - and I don't feel like I've sold out in any way, as I quite like Land's End. It's just so uncanny sometime.. really. And on a day like today, I could so go for a yellow slicker just like this.


Pearl Westwood said...

That is a shame AA had to behave like that, but you know my feelings about them as you helped me out that time I got some AA rep trying to get me to buy a pair of £75 trouser just to do some outfit shots for them!!
I have also had issues with one other advertiser - no longer on my blog of course - who owed 3 months fees, I had to threated legal action to extract the money out of them. Other than that I really enjoy working with brands and dont feel obliged, if I dont like a product they send I will tell them and offer to send it back, I only work with brands I am comfortable with such as Littlewoods, Tesco and Spartoo which are regulars. I guess its just trial and error x

the style crusader said...

Jill, it really is a shame. That seems to be one of the most important thing in becoming a blogger... learning who is authentic in what they have to offer and knowing your 'little blog' is worthy of not being sold into any offer that comes its way. I think you've got to stick with your gut feeling and give something a try if you think it might work out well. That's what you do Jill. You're often keen to give something a try, even if it winds up not working out. But hey, if you didn't... how many great things would you have potentially missed out on?

The photos still as great today as it was a year ago, and the girl still looks just as gorgeous. Shame it's tainted a bit tainted by AA's behaviour. Also, shame you don't want to walk into their stores anymore. But, to be honest, the prices have gotten so ridiculously high in the UK anyway... I remember when they first started and I lived in LA and it was awesome. You'd go and pick up plain t-shirts for $14 by the bucket load. Not anymore.


San said...

That is why I will keep my blogs free of ads. Blogging is fun to me and I want to keep it that way.

I was approached by a company who produce some kind of software. They seemed nice enough, but the software was not related to my blog topics and they totally missed the point that I'm a Mac-user. I never replied to them.

By the way, I finally found a job and a really cool one on top of that. I'm sooo excited. I'll start next month.

Can't wait to hear the elle story. I'm sure you'll work out the right thing to do. Like I said in my email, stick it out they are wrong and they should admit it.

Anonymous said...

Its better to be ad free (although its always nice to have extra $$ (no pound sign on my computer!)

Having no - one expecting you to say anything keeps your blog - "YOUR BLOG".

A year ago today - I was probably doing the same thing O am doing today - reading your blog and then going to work


Kazuko said...

if the ad goes inline with the blog (what is presented etc.) - why not. but in general - a blog is a blog.

oh, but what made me furious recently was, when i discovered that one of the blogs i often read is curated by a huge publishing company. it used to be a private small blog like mine, but then it grew and obviously at one point the blogger cooperated with that company. i found out when i wrote a comment and received a very stupid email from the publishing house's intern, that i should please use my real name, otherwise they could not approve my comment - i HAD used my real name.

i was really disappointed. so there is a fine line (for me at least) how far a cooperation between a blogger and a company can go.

Veshoevius said...

Hi Jill - So I want to know (because it's not clear from the post) did AA actually cough up and pay you in the end? It's pretty appauling the way they dealt with you!

jill said...

Ha, V, I tried to reply and my whole window disappeared! I hope AA haven't embedded some kind of device.. yes they did pay me in the end. Just before Christmas, my husband, Mr. Dot, woke me, having not had a reply from Ulices in Accounts in their LA HQ AGAIN, and said, listen, Jill, you're gonna have to get in touch with them - I'm not getting anywhere with them. This had dragged on for months: it was one of those 'the check's in the mail' jobbies except it was meant to be direct deposit.

So I sent an email to everyone I had dealt with throughout the year - about 6 names in LA - with a title 'SHOW ME THE MONEY'. In it I laid out how all year I had been such a faithful slave to the brand, had taken the time - as had my friends - to model and do photo shoots for them - all for free - and had been such a loyal AA customer who had bought all their clothing and then been a walking billboard with the stuff they sent and I didn't understand why they bothered to send me a traffic report every week if they could simply pay me for the ad.

That's when Ryan replied - and he did round it UP, to his credit - from about $860 to $1000 even. But it was still such an unexpected slap in the face. Especially since the other blogger had been asking me for coffee and asking me to get them to let her run the ad, and they had told me they didn't want to -and that I should never do that again, they like to choose who to advertise with - and they go and give it to her and take it away from me.

Hey - all's well that ends well. But it's just sad. I'm a really loyal person in general and it takes a lot for me to just say adios, amigo.

What I still can't work out is if they really are going bankrupt - and if any other bloggers who ran the ad have had trouble getting paid from them. Ryan made me feel like I was being such a nuisance, but really.

Fashion Limbo said...

I just keep hearing a lot of dodgy stories on how AA run their business, especially their PR, that reading this doesn't surprise me. With regards to ads,if you have to start chasing people for something they should be paying you without a question, it all ends up being more bother than it's really worth. I'm still pretty undecided with regards to what I think about ads...

Veshoevius said...

I remember reading the reports at the time about their financial status - they were in serious trouble - must fish around to see what happened to them. I don't and won't run ads but your story seems like a good warning to anyone who might be thinking about it.
Didn't do FBFF this week, no time!

*sunday* said...

its not professional and i wouldnt expect something like that from AA.. I dont mind ads on side bars as long as i dont have to say anything. If i was to do a write up, i would like to believe i would do an honest product review whether they like it or not ..

staklene bombone | hard candies said...

hey hey!
I know this game very well - I play it myself from time to time:) it gives me this funny feeling of how unpredictable life is, how magic it can get crossing borders even our imagination couldn't cross.

and as for the whole add-story - everything is always about people that stand in our way.
nevertheless, good for you!


Dulwich_News said...

Arthur loves this post and keeps laughing as he says
"ha'oo"(his version of hello) to the little dog.... Best Robert

Matthew Spade said...

real interesting post indeed. i didn't realise AA paid(well not always of course, in your case)so much for ad placement. They have hit it bad now anyways, and with anything like their nature, they had to reach tipping point and come crashing down. we are seeing it as it happens. i'm told like what happened to hush puppies in the 90s. i do have some adds, just trying to make a couple of £ but i haven't actually made anything off them and i've not been approached. other than being sent freebies, i will be open about it all and still only chat about something that relates but i dont tend to use press releases ect either. duno, maybe no one reads my blog anyways!

Matthew Spade said...

thought i'd just reply on here. well i'm not multi tasking so much, watching idiot abroad and trying this. i persuaded jen to get on the twits. its just really good to keep in touch and not as formal as facebook i guess(in a way). instant, that's why it's so good.

it's a good attitude to have, this land's end fellow. i'm lucky to have quite a loyal readership so i guess it means i'm doing my bit right. i fit in weird to the whole blog work, i think it's a bit like yours without the street style, cos you do a bit of everything dont you.

yeah i'm hoping these docs are good, they look it but just hope they suit. hiking vibe but with the comfort of docs. ah dont get rid! will you be shooting LFW? reply on twits maybe easier